[Sinn Fein]

22nd February 2002

McDowell guilty of political cowardice

Sinn Fein representative for Dublin South East Daithi Doolan has accused Michael McDowell of `political cowardice' after he refused to go on radio to discuss the outrageous and unfounded allegations he made against Sinn Fein last night. Mr. Doolan said that it was no coincidence that Mr. McDowells made the comments following his low showing in the opinion polls earlier this week.

Mr. Doolan said:

``Last night Michael McDowell made a series of outrageous and unfounded allegations against Sinn Fein. This was incredible coming from someone who is Attorney General of this state and President of a party currently in government.

``It is no coincidence that his comments were made following his poor showing in the polls earlier this week.

``His comments are also reflective of the negative campaigning from all of the establishment parties in recent weeks - all designed to frighten voters from

supporting Sinn Fein. It's a pity the Mr. McDowell didn't have the courage of his convictions. His failure to engage with Sinn Fein in a public debate shows that he cannot back up any of the outrageous allegations he has levelled at our party.

``Instead of launching childish and hysterical outbursts Mr. McDowell would better serve the interests of the people by engaging with them and listening to the issues that effect their lives. The people of Dublin South East know my track record. They know I've been working hard on the ground here tackling those issues. They also know that Mr McDowell abandoned this area when he failed to get elected the last time out. I think the people of Dublin South East will give their verdict on election day and I am sure that Mr McDowell's brand of politics will not feature.''

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